CANNABIS HAUL - Gardaí checking on possible dissident link

Gardai were still questioning three Chinese people at Buncrana station yesterday evening after the discovery of a major cannabis operation outside Malin.

Gardai were still questioning three Chinese people at Buncrana station yesterday evening after the discovery of a major cannabis operation outside Malin.

What has been described as a cannabis factory was discovered on Wednesday in a commercial unit a couple of miles from Malin.

The arrests were made at the scene and Gardai said the drugs recovered had an estimated street value of 1m euros.

Garda Supt Kevin English said it was a significant find.

Asked about a possible dissident republican link to the operation, Supt English said it was early in the investigation.

“We have three people arrested who we found at the premises on Wednesday morning,” he said.

“They are of Chinese nationality. They are currently being detained here in Buncrana and are being questioned under the relevant drug-trafficking legislation.

“As to the possible connections to dissident republicans, we will be liaising with our colleagues in the Police Service of Northern Ireland.”

The raid on the warehouse was described as a ‘planned operation’. It is understood it’s part of an ongoing garda operation into suspected drug production in the region.

Superintendent English said the discovery included cannabis seeds, young plants and some of the drug already harvested ready for the market. Sophisticated growing equipment was also discovered at the drug factory.

This is the second significant find made by local gardai in the area in recent times. In may 2011 they discovered a cannabis production house in the Buncrana area and three non-nationals were arrested.

This follows high profile successes by Donegal gardai in uncovering a number of cannabis production facilities in the county, including large scale finds in Carrigans and in Bundoran.

Co-operate

Donegal North East TD, Deputy Padraig MacLochalinn says the gardai must be congratulated on the operation to discover the drugs plant and has asked people to co-operate with the authorities if they have suspicions on illegal activity.

He said this will reassure the people of the area that despite cut backs in resources, gardai are still working effectively when they receive public co-operation.

“I must congratulate the gardai. There have obviously been concerns around cuts in resources and personnel in recent times, but this will be a significant morale boost.

“This will be a move to reassure people as there is a huge challenge in Inishowen at the minute with a range of burglaries across the peninsula, so this will be a boost. I would also ask members of the public to be vigilant, particularly about vacant houses or properties,” he said.